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Most people can get adequate vitamin C in their diet by eating fruits and vegetables. However, some people take a vitamin C supplement due to dietary restrictions or a medical condition.

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Product Review, vitamins

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin and antioxidant essential for health. It helps the immune system, skin, and bones function, and it combats damage from free radicals, which are molecules that can adversely affect the body.

This article looks at who may benefit from taking vitamin C, how much people need to consume per day, and some of the best vitamin C supplements available on the market.

A quick look at 9 of the best vitamin C supplements

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), vitamin C deficiency is rare in the United States.

However, although most people can get enough vitamin C from fruits and vegetables, others may have difficulty getting enough vitamin C from their diet.

Those who may be at risk of vitamin C deficiency include:

  • older adults
  • people with alcohol use disorders
  • people with eating disorders
  • people who smoke, as cigarette smoke increases the damage that free radicals cause, resulting in a higher need for vitamin C
  • people who eat restricted diets for medical reasons
  • people with certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease that requires hemodialysis, conditions that cause malabsorption, and some types of cancer
  • infants who drink boiled cow’s milk — the heat destroys the small amount of vitamin C it contains

Anyone who is concerned that they have a deficiency can ask a doctor for blood tests to determine which nutrients they need. A long-term vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy.

In addition to those with a vitamin C deficiency, some other people may also benefit from consuming more of this nutrient. For example, some evidence suggests that vitamin C can reduce the severity and duration of the common cold.

However, according to the NIH, there is no conclusive evidence that vitamin C impacts COVID-19.

For more in-depth resources about vitamins, minerals, and supplements, visit our dedicated hub.

According to the NIH, the recommended daily intake of vitamin C for most people is 75–90 milligrams (mg).

Typically, the small intestine absorbs up to 100 mg of vitamin C from food per day. Once the cells have become saturated with vitamin C, they cannot absorb any more.

However, some people believe that taking very large doses of vitamin C, or “megadosing,” is beneficial. This may stem from a 1976 paper indicating that high dose vitamin C could prolong the lives of people with terminal cancer.

However, more recent studies have not repeated this result.

Vitamin C doses of over 2,000 mg per day may cause side effects, such as:

People with particular health conditions and those who take certain medications may also need to avoid vitamin C supplements. These conditions include hemochromatosis, which causes the body to store too much iron, and kidney stones.

Vitamin C may also interact with chemotherapy treatment.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate vitamin C products. For this reason, it is important for people to discuss taking any new supplement with a doctor.

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high quality ingredients that are clearly labeled. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: MNT chooses products that must clearly state the supplement dosage.
  • Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a safe dosage.
  • Third-party testing: MNT chooses products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.

There are many vitamin products on the market, and because they are not FDA-regulated, they may vary significantly in purity, ingredients, and dose.

People should always buy vitamin C from a reputable company, which means that the company follows current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and the products undergo third-party testing.

The products below contain safe doses of vitamin C for adults and have undergone independent testing for quality.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best for vegans: Care/of Vitamin C

  • Amount of vitamin C per serving: 250 mg
  • Form of vitamin: capsules
  • Count: 30 capsules

Care/of is a vitamin subscription service that creates a personalized plan for individuals based on their health needs.

The brand’s vitamin C supplement undergoes multiple rounds of testing to ensure safety, and the brand also sources its ingredients from trusted suppliers.

The supplement is vegan, gluten-free, and genetically modified organism (GMO)-free, and it contains 250 mg of fermented vitamin C per serving.

The company recommends taking 1 capsule per day. People can take this supplement at any time and on an empty stomach.

Pros and cons

This product has several advantages. The company tests all products to ensure they are safe to consume, and the vitamins are vegan, gluten-free, and GMO-free.

However, this is a subscription-based service. People who wish to use this vitamin as a one-off purchase may prefer to buy from another company.

Price: Care/of Vitamin C costs $7 for a 30-day supply.

Best for a multivitamin: Ritual Postnatal

  • Amount of vitamin C per serving: 25 mg
  • Form of vitamin: capsules
  • Count: 60 capsules

Ritual is another multivitamin subscription service. The brand uses vitamin C as an ingredient in some products, including its postnatal multivitamin.

Each serving contains 25 mg of vitamin C and several other nutritional supplements, including choline, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and biotin.

Ritual claims that its ingredients are traceable and that customers can use the website to track the exact origin of the ingredients in the products.

The company recommends taking 2 capsules per day.

Pros and cons

An advantage of this product is that it contains other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D3, iron, and folate. Additionally, people can trace the ingredients in the vitamins from their point of origin.

However, this company also offers a subscription service. People who wish to buy supplements as a one-off purchase may prefer to buy from a different company.

Price: Ritual Postnatal costs $35 for 30 servings.

Best for most dietary requirements: Persona Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids

  • Amount of vitamin C per serving: 500 mg
  • Form of vitamin: capsules
  • Count: no information available

Persona is a subscription service that carries a vitamin C supplement containing bioflavonoids. The product is citrus flavored and can help boost antioxidant intake.

Each supplement contains 500 mg of vitamin C and has undergone quality testing at each stage to ensure safety.

Persona subscriptions also include consultations with nutritionists and personalized plans based on each individual’s health conditions.

The company recommends taking one capsule per day.

Pros and cons

Some advantages of this product are that it undergoes quality testing to ensure safety and is suitable for most dietary requirements. This vitamin is suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and the company makes it without some of the most common allergens, including wheat, soy, tree nuts, and egg.

However, Persona is a subscription service, so those who prefer to buy vitamins as a one-off purchase may choose a different company. Additionally, the company does not provide a price for 1 month’s supply unless someone creates an account.

Price: Persona does not currently display the overall cost of these vitamins. However, the company says that each dose costs $0.20 per day. They also do not state how many are in a container.

Best for a liquid vitamin: Pure Encapsulations Liposomal Vitamin C Liquid

  • Amount of vitamin C per serving: 1,000 mg per teaspoon
  • Form of vitamin: liquid
  • Count: 120 milliliters, or 24 servings

The Pure Encapsulations Liposomal Vitamin C Liquid provides 1,000 mg of vitamin C in 1 teaspoon and comes in a pleasant citrus flavor.

According to the company, it contains non-GMO ingredients and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

This is a liposomal vitamin C product, which means that tiny bubbles of oil contain the vitamin C.

According to one 2020 study, the gut absorbs this form of vitamin C easier. However, the company likely factored this into the product’s price, which is higher than that of other products by other brands.

The company is National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certified, and it has its ingredients tested for contaminants.

Pure Encapsulations recommends taking 4 drops (1 teaspoon) per day.

Pros and cons

Some advantages of this product are that it is suitable for vegans and vegetarians, it contains liposomal vitamin C that the gut may absorb easier, and the company tests the ingredients for safety.

However, this product is one of the more expensive options on this list.

Price: Pure Encapsulations Liposomal Vitamin C Liquid costs $38.50 for 24 servings.

Best for a powder vitamin: Life Extension Buffered Vitamin C Powder

  • Amount of vitamin C per serving: 4,000 mg
  • Form of vitamin: powder
  • Count: 16 ounces, or 84-days’ supply

Some people find that taking ascorbic acid irritates their stomach. Buffered vitamin C is a less acidic form of the nutrient, which may help reduce adverse effects.

One serving of this powder provides 4,000 mg of vitamin C. This dose is very high — twice that of the upper limit that the NIH recommends.

However, as this product comes as a powder, people can lower the dose to a more moderate level by using a smaller amount.

Life Extension is also NSF- and GMP-certified and produces a Certificate of Analysis for every product it makes.

The company recommends mixing 1 rounded teaspoon into a glass of water per day.

Pros and cons

Some advantages of this product are that the company tests each product for safety, and it uses a less acidic form of vitamin C, which may reduce stomach irritation. Additionally, as this vitamin is in powder form, a person can lower the dose according to their requirements.

However, one serving of this product is twice that of the upper limit the NIH recommends. People who ingest a high amount of vitamin C may experience side effects.

Price: Life Extension Buffered Vitamin C Powder has a list price of $21 for an 84-day supply.

Best for a chewable vitamin: NOW Supplements Orange Chewable Vitamin C-500

  • Amount of vitamin C per serving: 500 mg
  • Form of vitamin: chewable tablet
  • Count: 100 tablets

People who do not like swallowing tablets may prefer a chewable vitamin. This product delivers 500 mg of vitamin C per chewable tablet. A person can take up to 2 tablets per day.

The product is free from common allergens and suitable for vegans. It does contain some sugar and natural sweeteners, though this only totals 1 gram per dose. The tablets have a natural orange flavor.

According to the website, NOW exceeds GMP standards and tests all raw ingredients for safety and purity.

The company recommends taking one tablet 1–2 times per day.

Pros and cons

An advantage of this product is that it is chewable. Some people may find it easier to take a chewable vitamin than swallowing a capsule. Additionally, NOW tests all ingredients to ensure their safety.

However, this product does contain sugar and natural sweeteners. Although the number of sugars in this product is low, some people may prefer to purchase a vitamin that does not contain any sugar.

Price: NOW Supplements Orange Chewable Vitamin C-500 costs $14.99 for 100 chewable tablets.

Best for a gummy: Nordic Naturals Vitamin C Gummies

  • Amount of vitamin C per serving: 250 mg
  • Form of vitamin: gummies
  • Count: 60 gummies

Each serving of two gummies contains 250 mg of vitamin C. The gummies are suitable for vegans and free from gluten and GMOs. Additionally, the company states it uses a third party to test the vitamins.

The company recommends this product for people over the age of 4 years and suggests taking two daily with food.

Pros and cons

This supplement may be beneficial for people who find it difficult to swallow tablets and capsules, as the gummies are chewable. Additionally, the tangerine flavor may be more pleasant than unflavored alternatives.

However, these gummies contain sugar. A person should factor the extra sugar into their diet.

Price: Nordic Naturals Vitamin C Gummies cost $14.95 for 60 gummies.

Best for a spray: Garden of Life mykind Organics Vitamin C Organic Spray

  • Amount of vitamin C per serving: approximately 60 mg
  • Form of vitamin: spray
  • Count: 2 fluid ounces, or 27 servings

This product requires a person to spray the supplement directly into their mouth five times. This provides approximately 60 mg of vitamin C per dose, which equates to 67% of a person’s daily intake.

It may be an ideal solution for individuals who do not wish to swallow or chew tablets. It has an orange-tangerine flavor for a more pleasant taste.

The organic food blend which makes up the formula includes Amla berry extract and a selection of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C.

This product is certified vegan, non-GMO, certified gluten-free, and USDA organic. It also does not contain dairy or soy.

Pros and cons

This product is easy to consume, is suitable for vegans, and it uses USDA-certified organic ingredients.

However, the vitamin C dose is relatively low in comparison with some of its competitors.

Price: Garden of Life mykind Organics Vitamin C Organic Spray costs $13.99 for 27 servings.

Best for flavonoids: Thorne Vitamin C with Flavonoids

  • Amount of vitamin C per serving: 500 mg
  • Form of vitamin: capsules
  • Count: 90 capsules

Throne states that these capsules contain flavonoids that may increase the benefits of vitamin C and provide more antioxidant properties.

The company recommends taking 1 capsule per day. Each serving contains 500 mg of vitamin C.

Additionally, this product is gluten-free. However, it does not state whether it is suitable for vegans.

Pros and cons

This product contains flavonoids, which are rich in antioxidants. Additionally, each container has 90 capsules, which is a 3-month supply.

However, the capsules are large, which may make it difficult for some people to swallow.

Price: Thorne Vitamin C with Flavonoids costs $18 for a 3-month supply.

Below is a table comparing all of the vitamin C supplements in this article.

PriceFormVitamin C per servingServing size per dayAmount of servings bottle
Care/of$7capsule250 mg130
Ritual$35capsule25 mg230
Persona$0.20 per day capsule500 mg1no information
Pure Encapsulations$38.50liquid1,000 mg1 teaspoon24
Life Extension$21powder4,000 mg1 teaspoon84
NOW Supplements$14.99chewable tablets500 mg1–250 – 100
Nordic Naturals$14.95gummies250 mg230
Garden of Life$13.99spray60 mg5 sprays27
Thorne$18capsules500 mg190

There are several forms of vitamin C. In supplements, vitamin C usually comes in the form of ascorbic acid. However, some supplements contain other forms, such as sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, or ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids.

According to the NIH, all forms of vitamin C are similarly beneficial.

There are various ways people can take vitamin C, including:

  • capsules
  • chewable gummies
  • effervescent tablets
  • powders
  • liquids
  • sprays

Some people may prefer the convenience of swallowing tablets, while others may prefer a powder to mix into drinks.

People who have issues absorbing nutrients may prefer a sublingual supplement, as the body absorbs these in the mouth rather than the intestines.

Eating more fruits and vegetables is the best way for someone to increase their vitamin C intake naturally.

The NIH suggests:

  • half a cup of raw sweet red pepper, which contains 95 mg of vitamin C
  • three-quarters of a cup of orange juice, which contains 93 mg of vitamin C
  • half a cup of broccoli and half a cup of strawberries, which totals 97 mg of vitamin C
  • one medium orange and half a cup of cooked cabbage, which totals 98 mg of vitamin C

Some companies also fortify their breakfast cereals with added vitamin C.

High heat, water-based cooking methods, as well as prolonged storage, can destroy some foods’ vitamin C content.

For this reason, the NIH suggests lightly steaming or microwaving vegetables to retain more of their nutrients.

Vitamin C deficiency can be fatal without treatment. A person should consult with a doctor if they have symptoms that may indicate a vitamin C deficiency.

These symptoms include:

  • small red or purple spots on the skin
  • inflamed, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • wobbly teeth or tooth loss
  • corkscrew-shaped hairs
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • joint pain

A person should also contact a doctor before taking vitamin C, particularly if they have a medical condition, are pregnant, or take any medications.

Below are some common questions about vitamin C.

How much vitamin C should a person take?

According to the NIH, a person should consume the following amounts of vitamin C per day:

AgeFemalesMales
0– 6 months40 mg40 mg
7–12 months50 mg50 mg
1–3 years15 mg15 mg
4–8 years25 mg25 mg
9–13 years45 mg45 mg
14–18 years65 mg75 mg
19+ years75 mg90 mg

Additionally, people who are pregnant or lactating will require more vitamin C:

AgePregnancyLactating
14–18 years80 mg115 mg
19+ years85 mg120 mg

People who smoke should consume 35 mg more vitamin C than their age group.

Can vitamin C damage the kidneys?

According to the NIH, there is some evidence that high amounts of vitamin C can increase the risk of kidney stones. Ingesting high amounts of vitamin C can increase oxalate in the urine, which could lead to kidney stones, especially in people who have a renal disorder.

However, the NIH also states that there is conflicting evidence whether kidney stones and vitamin C intake are related. The organization says that people most at risk of kidney stones due to ingesting too much vitamin C are people who already have high amounts of oxalate in the urine.

Should people take vitamin C daily?

People should aim to ingest the NIH’s recommended daily intake of vitamin C per day.

One source of vitamin C is fruit and vegetables. For example, three-quarters of a cup of orange juice contains 106% of a person’s RDA of vitamin C.

However, the NIH says that there is an upper tolerable limit of how much vitamin C a person can consume before experiencing side effects such as diarrhea and nausea:

AgeUpper tolerable limit
1–3 years400 mg
4–8 years650 mg
9–13 years1,200 mg
14–18 years1,800 mg
19+ years2,000 mg

Most people get enough vitamin C by eating a varied diet that includes fruits and vegetables. However, some people may need to take a supplement.

All forms of vitamin C work in much the same way, but people should always choose a reputable seller and consider the dose, quality, and price point before buying a product.

Consuming too much vitamin C may cause side effects.

Vitamin C supplements are not suitable for everyone, so it is always best for a person to consult a doctor or registered dietitian before taking any.